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94% support public funding to provide clean drinking water to Indigenous peoples, 86% support the idea of an official apology from the Pope, and 83% support the federal government providing funding for surveying the grounds of all former residential schools

Vancouver, BC — In the aftermath of the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the residential school in Kamloops, a new Insights West survey shows that the people of the province of BC have been playing close attention to the story as it unfolds. The results also show that British Columbians overall are engaging in dialogue and participating in several different individual actions to contribute to the reconciliation process.

The residential schools story is one that the vast majority of British Columbians are following closely. A total of 86% are following the story—broken down into those who are following it ‘very closely’ (39%), and 48% who are following it ‘somewhat closely’. Only 13% are ‘not following the story very closely’ and only 1% are ‘not following it at all’. Interestingly, those 55 years and older are following the story most closely (48% ‘very closely’), while younger residents in our province (18-34 year olds) are less likely to be following it (23% ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’).

Insights West compiled a list of 14 different actions that BC residents can do to support reconciliation, and we found that 85% of BC adults have participated in at least one personal action as a result of the discovery, and a wide number have participated in various individual activities.

This topic is resonating in households across BC, as 72% have had conversations with friends and family about residential schools, 28% have actively reached out to and listened to an Indigenous person, and 43% have done additional research or learning to find out more about the impacts of the residential schools on the Indigenous population. Social media has been active as well on this topic, with 26% having made comments on other people’s social media posts and 25% have posted something about it on their own social media platforms.

There is a wide range of other activities undertaken as well by a smaller number of British Columbians including wearing orange in support (25%), reading any of the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations (21%), talking about the issue with their own children (18%), reading a book or watching a film from an Indigenous author/filmmaker (13%), and taking a specific action or stand in reaction to a discriminatory comment (13%). So far, 7% have made a donation to an associated organization (such as one that supports residential school survivors).

“British Columbians have been dramatically impacted by the news coming out of the former Kamloops residential school, and most of us have been following the story as it continues to develop ever since” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “Although we still have a have a long way to go, it is encouraging to see many British Columbians rallying behind the drive for truth and reconciliation within our province and supporting our Indigenous people by undertaking a wide number of actions that contribute to understanding this very important issue.”

There are strong levels of support across the province for more pointed governmental and societal actions to address reconciliation further. At the top of the list is 94% support for using public funding to provide clean drinking water to Indigenous peoples (including 78% who ‘strongly support’). There is also an overwhelming level of support for an official apology from the Pope on behalf of the Catholic Church on this, with 86% in support (66% who ‘strongly support’). A further 83% support the idea of the Canadian federal government providing funding for surveying the grounds of all former residential schools in Canada (including 59% who ‘strongly support’).

Slightly lower, but still very high levels of support exist for the government fulfilling all 94 recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report (72% support; 47% strongly) additional compensation for residential school survivors (63% support; 38% ‘strongly), and the announcement of a national holiday on September 30th as Truth and Reconciliation Day (71%; 42% strongly).

Groups that tend to provide higher levels of support for these various actions include females, those between the ages of 18-34, and BC NDP and Green voters, where support levels are 10 to 20 percentage points higher than for males, older British Columbians and Liberal voters.


About Insights West:

Insights West is a full-service marketing research firm based in Western Canada. Since 2012, the company has conducted over one million surveys, executed 2,000 studies, and issued over 400 press releases on a variety of topics, correctly predicting the outcomes of 25 out of 26 elections and plebiscites. Insights West is a team of passionate, truth-seeking researchers who question everything to uncover the truth and what is emerging for a diverse set of clients. With an understanding of shifting markets, consumer and societal trends, and commitment to uncovering truths through a proprietary toolkit and innovative research approaches, Insights West helps organizations make better decisions.


About this poll:

Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West Marketing Research June 10 to 14, 2021 among a sample of 830 adult residents across BC. Respondents are part of Insights West’s Feedback Community, a panel of BC residents recruited from a variety of sources and backgrounds who share their views and opinions on an ongoing basis, and from other panels provided by partner providers. The margin of error with the total sample – which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click HERE to view the detailed data tabulations.


For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
Insights West